Polished-diamond prices softened in October as inventory levels rose ahead of the Diwali festival. Despite the decline, sentiment improved, with expectations growing for the US holiday season.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI„¢) for 1-carat diamonds fell 0.9% in October. The index was up 1.3% since the beginning of the year and 0.7% from a year ago, following strong gains in the first half of 2018.
|RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI„¢)|
Year to date Jan. 1 to Nov. 1
Year on year Nov. 1, 2017, to Nov. 1, 2018
|RAPI 0.30 ct.||-1.4%||3.3%||4.5%|
|RAPI 0.50 ct.||-0.5%||4.1%||4.4%|
|RAPI 1 ct.||-0.9%||1.3%||0.7%|
|RAPI 3 ct.||-1.0%||-1.0%||-2.4%|
Copyright 2018, Rapaport USA Inc.
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Diamond trading was steady during the month, with US holiday orders driving sales. Buyers were looking for bargains in India, where local dealers and manufacturers have been under pressure due to the weak rupee down 13% since January 1 and tighter bank lending. Factories have closed for most of November for Diwali.
Indian suppliers are holding large inventories during the break, particularly of melee and 0.30-carat goods. The volume of diamonds listed on RapNet grew 13% during the month to 1.6 million stones, a rise of 35% since the beginning of 2018 and 11% compared with a year ago.
Manufacturers have reduced production of those categories, as rough trading has slowed in the past few months. Alrosa and De Beers sales volume declined during the third quarter, but the companies reported higher average prices, signaling a shift in demand away from smaller, cheaper diamonds.
Preparations for the US holiday season are supporting polished trading. Chinese buyers are cautious due to uncertainties surrounding the US-China trade war and the depreciation of the yuan currency. However, US retailers are optimistic for the season, as consumer confidence continues to rise. Jewelers require less in-store inventory and are taking more goods on memo; their focus is now on improving their omni-channel offerings, with online sales expected to spike.
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